Hustle Your Work with WordHustler
Of all the things that writers have to do, the task that seems the most burdensome is the step that’s most crucial to getting our work into print: submitting it. Sending out submissions isn’t just a bookkeeping nightmare – you have to remember where you sent it and when and how long to wait before following up and whether the work was paid for or not and if not when it’s going to be paid and who you need to contact at each publication and how many times a piece was rejected and when it’s going to be published and… – it’s also an emotionally super-charged experience. Every query or finished piece you send out is yet another chance for some person you don’t know to reject you, and the psychological toll of rejection adds up pretty fast.
WordHustler is a new service that aims to take at least some of the hassle out of submitting. While they don’t offer personal therapy for rejection anxiety sufferers (yet?) they do offer an incredible system for finding markets and contests to submit your work to, sending work out, and tracking your submissions and responses. And it’s a real end-to-end service – they do all the work of evaluating markets, printing manuscripts or queries, and even mailing out your work – all you have to do is select markets, write cover letters, and click “Send”.
Here are some of the things you can do with WordHustler:
- Research markets in their database of over 3,000 magazines, publishing houses, and contests. Each entry is evaluated by hand to weed out scams and assure accuracy.
- Create cover letters and queries using their online LaTeX interface. LaTeX is not a word processor, it’s a typesetting engine, so documents produced on WordHustler look like they’ve been professionally printed. Talk about standing out! (According to Anne Walls, one of the founders, they’re looking at expanding this for the creation of manuscripts as well.)
- Track your projects. You can upload your manuscripts (in PDF format only, for now, but more formats will be accepted down the road), add notes, tags, status, and other information, and search by word count, degree of completeness, or keywords. When a project is done, you can instantly find relevant markets and contests according to genre, tags, and other criteria.
- Send submissions to selected markets. Once you’ve identified a market, written your cover letter, and uploaded your manuscript, WordHustler does the work of assembling your submission, according to the publisher’s guidelines. If the publisher wants the first ten pages, they send the first ten pages. If the publisher wants a reply postcard, they send a reply postcard (pre-addressed to you). Whatever instructions the publisher gives, WordHustler follows.
- Track submissions. Your dashboard lists all the manuscripts you have out, and you can mark off responses as they return.
- Get advice. You and your fellow WordHustlers can comment on markets and vote them up or down, so others benefit from your experience. The WordHustler blog offers advice, interviews, and market information. And they’re growing: more social media and community features are on their way.
The best part is, everything except printing and mailing submissions is free. WordHustler charges only for sending out manuscripts, charging a pretty fair rate for printing, compiling, and shipping your manuscript depending on the size of the submission.
Actually, that’s not the best part. The real best part is that WordHustler is founded and run by two authors, Anne Walls and John L. Singleton, so they know from first-hand experience about the problems writers face. WordHustler was created to manage their own submissions – it grew out of the actual experiences that writers have juggling their submission tracking and market research with the creative work of actually writing. I’ve been emailing back and forth with Walls for the last couple weeks, and it’s clear that her and Singleton’s top priority is to serve the interests of writers.
It’s clear, too, that they continue to look for new ways to add even more value to the service. I emailed Walls with a list of ways I thought WordHustler could be made even more useful; in almost every case, they were already working on the things I’d suggested, and were very open to the few ideas I had that they hadn’t already started working on. That, to me at least, is incredibly promising.
So market listings are free – the point isn’t to profit from listing markets, but to provide writers as much information as possible. Writer feedback on markets is listed, so we all benefit from each other’s experiences. Unethical or predatory markets (like contests that exist solely to drive sales of the published book of “winners”) are removed, or not listed in the first place.
In the final assessment, WordHustler is a well-thought-out and useful service, and I highly recommend writers check it out. As with all tools, it’s entirely possible that it won’t fit your particular style or needs, which is why I put together a whole series on submission tracking techniques and tools – find the one that works for you. But WordHustler is a more-than-worthy addition to that lineup, and goes far beyond just tracking submissions. If you’re an active writer, you will get a lot of use out of WordHustler.